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YCST to work with Batchelor

Motor racing personality to work with Trust

York City Supporters' Trust is to form a working partnership with John Batchelor as it strives to achieve its aims of securing the future of the Club and representation for supporters in its future ownership and operation. The announcement follows extensive discussions and consideration of all options relating to the proposals to purchase Bootham Crescent Holdings and York City Football Club.

Graham Ibbetson, Chairman of the Trust, explained
"The major factors which differentiate John from other proposals include the potential for a new positive culture, exciting commercial plans, community, local business and supporter involvement plus a framework for a fair equity stake for the Supporters' Trust."

Launched successfully just over two weeks ago, and having clearly established its credibility, the Trust has played an increasingly pivotal role within the negotiations to save the Club. Trust representatives have held a series of meetings and discussions over recent weeks with the Council, John Batchelor, Russell Greenfield and John Stabler, other potential investors and the Board of Bootham Crescent Holdings.

The Trust has had to move quickly given the deadline of 31 March imposed by Douglas Craig. There is still much work to be done and many hurdles to overcome. Ibbetson commented:

"There are many factors that underpin the success of these proposals. None more so than the working support of City of York Council and a positive response from the board of BCH throughout the next phase of discussions."

And Ibbetson was keen to point out that the decision to work with Batchelor does not entirely rule out other options between now and 31 March:

"The Trust will continue to keep options available in the event of any breakdown in discussions to maintain a firm contingency approach for the immediate future of York City Football Club. We would like to thank all parties who have contributed with alternative proposals and would look to accommodate their ideas and aspirations in the future.

Under the working partnership proposals, the Trust will have two board directors and an equity stake of at least 25% in the holding company that in turn owns the Club and Bootham Crescent. An agreement between the two parties will also provide certain protections for the supporters and community regarding the future operations of the Club.

The new united front will provide fresh impetus towards saving the Club and providing a brighter future for professional sport in the City. Commenting on the new partnership, John Batchelor said:

"I've been impressed by the achievements of the Trust in a very short space of time. I want to involve the supporters and the community in a real and tangible way. I want them on the board as shareholders with a real voice and I want a mechanism in place that ensures the Club will never be in this position again."

Central to the new strategy for the future viability of the Club is a new stadium. This will provide a major new asset for the community, local business, schools and professional sport in York.

The Trust was founded on the basis that it will seek to strengthen the bonds between the Club and the community it serves. Since its launch the Trust has established its vision of a new York City: a Club that embraces its relationships with the supporters, the community, the Council, local schools and businesses. Only on this basis can the Club improve its financial performance which is required for future survival.

In terms of the future of Bootham Crescent and how proceeds from its sale will in effect be lost from the Football Club, Trust representatives remain disappointed about the proposals of the directors issued back on 9 January. However, the Trust has had to deal with the reality of the situation and get on with the business of securing the future of professional football in York.

In general, supporters are still very angry about the proposals of Douglas Craig and his fellow directors. This Saturday a group of London based City fans are presenting a petition to The Football Association calling on the guardians of the English game to investigate a potential breach of their rules by the directors of the Club.

Meanwhile, whilst membership numbers continue to grow strongly, the Trust is calling on more people to join. Trust spokesperson Sophie McGill appealed: "We want and need more Trust members. Not just City regulars, but anyone who cares about professional sport in York, the community and City of York. Your support is crucial at this key time and over the next few months."

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